Studies show that the majority of international – immigrant students show frustration and high levels of anxiety because their language challenges affected their learning. High levels of frustration and anxiety leads to increased dropout rates or low scores among these students who failed in academic performance. As a matter of fact, in some school settings the use of a student’s native language is not possible during instruction and parent-teacher conferences. These international students and parents share the same frustration and need to assimilate the English language process that does not occur immediately. A main factor is in understanding the length of time second language learners [children and parents] normally take to learn a foreign language. To illustrate, students would need from 6 months to 2 years to acquire BICS (Social Language). A second language learner would take 3 to 7 years to assimilate CALP (Academic Language) during the second language learning process.
International Parent’s Mindset
A key question for parents is to know the exact English language level of their children entering American schools. The assimilation and language process are not magical, they both require dedication and access to a well – designed English language program. Integrated content and language instruction in listening, speaking, reading, and writing let students develop the ability to generate spoken and written language about concepts in subject-area classes. For instance, students can perform lab experiments and mathematics calculations and learn about history, all while using appropriate academic language.
The direct instruction delivery in a typical American classroom is mainly in the official English language. A strong language demand is placed on all students in subject‑area classes. Students in some content classes are required to read and assimilate advanced texts, and to make connections in writing. Taking into consideration these highlights, international parents should pay attention to their child’s individual needs towards getting success in American schools. It is clear the international -immigrant student must reach three goals progressively: (a) use of English to communicate in social settings, (b) use of English to achieve academically in all subject-areas, and (c) use of English in socially and culturally appropriate ways. Parent’s involvement is essential in this journey. It means teamwork that brings growth enhancing the American community! The goal is to train students to be independent learners and take control of their own thinking and understanding in their academic life, American new life.